Chapter 5: The Lost Partner
Mrs. Ichijouji was crying. First, Osamu, now Ken. Mr. Ichijouji was trying to talk to her as the teenage boy who came to them earlier poured some water from the kitchen for them. He used to make himself at home when Osamu invited him over.
"I'm sure Ken-kun must have some reasons." He spoke up trying to console them while glancing at the direction of Ken's room.
"I'm sorry for what Ken had done to you. We should have heed your advice to watch out for him." Mr. Ichijouji said with an worried look.
"It's okay. I understand what Ken was going through. While he lost his brother, I lost my very first friend. He threw me out and I promised him I'll not play soccer anymore after losing the match with him. I don't intend to break my promise as long as he promised me to stay safe. He's prideful, I'm sure he'll be ok." The boy said clasping his hand deep in thought.
The boy opened the door to Ken's room reminiscing with one of the first memories he had. Osamu made friend with him and he made friend with Ken when he invited him over. The three of them often played soccer together and had a lot of fun. Things changed when Osamu met with an accident. As he saw Ken as his younger brother, he decided that he would protect him on his behalf. He had even given him a so-called protective charm. It was a necklace with a symbol of the sun.
He reached for a device in his pocket. Like the necklace, it was one of the few items he had with him from his lost past. He was hopeful. He would wait for his return. It was what Osamu would have wanted.
Never did he know that, Ken knew about the power of the "charm" which was unknown to him and would put it into good use.
Ken came to the area where a former Partner Digimon, Greymon was guarding.
"You want to fight?" Greymon asked.
"I got an experiment I'd to try and I will appreciate your help." Ken as Digimon Kaiser said. He flicked his fingers and an Evil Ring advanced towards Greymon.
"What are you doing?" Greymon growled.
Koushirou was having a discussion with Daisuke and his group. They heard that Ichijouji Ken had been missing for two days but his parents did not know he was gone until the day before.
Koushirou headed to the computer to check out the situation. Chances were Ken was in the Digital World and he was right as the black area had expanded.
"Seems like he wanted to stay behind to increase the number of black areas." Koushirou concluded.
"What do you mean?" Hikari asked.
"Could it be he's not planning to come back to the Real World?" Takeru guessed.
"Eh? He is going to stay in the Digital World forever? That's weird." Miyako exclaimed.
"In any case, things will get tougher from now on." Koushirou warned them. The pace of the Dark Tower being built will be faster than what Miyako and the rest could destroy.
"We have to go!" Daisuke said. But it was already 5 pm. "We will work something out!"
"We have to go no matter what." Hikari agreed with Daisuke.
"We'll be right back!" Miyako assured Koushirou.
"Take a look and come back immediately." Koushirou did not want to answer to their parents if they could not come home like the other day. More importantly, he really did not want to contact Yamato.
"Digital Gate open! Chosen Children, let's roll!" Miyako chanted the usual as they headed to the Digital World.
The group arrived at the volcanic area which caught Ken's attention. He had been waiting for them.
Wormmon nuzzled against Ken's ankle to only be kicked off by him.
"But Ken-chan, we can always be together now, right? I'm so happy." Wormmon did not know if he should be happy actually. He had wanted to stay with Ken indefinitely as he was his partner. However, Ken had other plan in mind.
"Ichijouji Ken, where are you?" Daisuke demanded his presence. Before long, they were surrounded by a group of Meramon which emerged from the boiling lava. The group of them except Daisuke jumped into action.
"As usual." He sighed as he watched the rest of the Partner Digimon did their armour evolution. Unfortunately, the elements of their Digimon were at a disadvantage against Fire Type Digimon.
"This is never ending." Miyako realized.
Meanwhile, Ken took the captured Greymon and was on the way to challenge the Chosen Children in Airdramon. He could not stop laughing on the way.
"Ken-chan, why are you laughing?" Wormmon asked.
"I was unable to control Andromon but I'll surely able to control a Perfect Level if I make it evolve from Adult Level." Ken explained pulling out the Crest of Courage. "Absorb the Power of Darkness, Dark Evolve… Turn into MetalGreymon, become my Partner Digimon and serve me." Ken said raising his black D3. The crest darkened as Greymon evolved into a Skull-like Digimon.
They finally arrived where Takeru and the rest were fighting Meramon.
Takeru was especially horrified. "Isn't that SkullGreymon?" He wondered. That was when Ken realized it was a wrong evolution.
SkullGreymon broke free of the cord which binded him. He was out of control.
"Ken-chan, it's SkullGreymon, I'm scared." Wormmon exclaimed. SkullGreymon easily took out an army of Meramon.
"What's with that thing?" Daisuke asked. Hikari was horrified. She had never seen one but she had heard about it from the rest. Instinct told Takeru to run.
"We don't have a chance against him!" He explained quickly.
In one sweep, SkullGreymon took out Holsmon and Digmon which reverted to their child forms.
"Everyone run. Wait for us in a safe place. We will take the Digimon with us." Nefertimon and Pegasusmon proposed.
SkullGreymon stopped. By using Ground Zero attack, he took out the Dark Tower shocking everybody.
"What's wrong with that thing?" Daisuke asked again.
"This… was a failure." Ken realized. He had no choice but to summon an army of DarkTyranomon to take SkullGreymon down.
Daisuke and the rest realized that they were attacking one of their own. This was funny. DarkTyranomon were no match for the rampaging SkullGreymon anyway.
Daisuke watched on carefully. SkullGreymon seemed to be in pain.
"This is crazy."
"I think he's crying." Daisuke suddenly said.
After defeating all the DarkTyranomon, SkullGreymon was out of power and reverted to an orange lizard which Hikari recognized immediately as her late brother's Agumon. An Airdramon was ordered to pick him up.
"Agumon." Hikari cried out.
"What did you say?" Takeru just realized.
"Agumon!" Hikari wanted to run after him but was stopped by Takeru hugging her from behind. Daisuke realized it was a friend of theirs.
The Chosen Children were unable to do anything but to watch as Ken and his Airdramon took Agumon away.
"Wait! Don't take Agumon away!" Hikari cried in desperation. "No, not Agumon! Not again!" Hikari sank on her knees in defeat. First her brother was taken, and now even Agumon was gone and she could not do anything. She cried as hard as she could.
"I know your pain. I know." Takeru kneeled in front of her as he took her in his arms and let her cry on his shoulder. Daisuke looked on sadly.
"That Agumon had to belong to a Chosen Child they had yet to meet." Daisuke concluded.
"Huh? The areas protected by Taichi-san's Agumon turned black." Koushirou stood up in shock. He opened up an e-mail from Takeru.
"Taichi-san's Agumon was kidnapped by Dark Digivice made Agumon dark evolve into SkullGreymon?" Koushirou clenched his fist in fury as he read the e-mail. This really made him mad. Of all Digimon, he had to take Agumon. This time, Kaiser had gone overboard.
"Is the Digimon Kaiser out to destroy the whole Digital World?"
That night, Daisuke could not sleep. He was worried about Hikari. He had seen Hikari cried but not as hard as today. He walked her home with Takeru, following close behind her. The two boys watched the door closed behind Yagami's residence.
"Will Hikari be ok?" Daisuke asked. He was feeling insecure. As a friend, he did not actually know everything about Hikari.
The boys walked past a playground where Daisuke stopped. His eyes fell on an empty swing. That was where he sat when he first met Hikari.
Two years ago, he ran out of his house after an argument with his sister. He sat on the swing waiting for her to come and pick him up. He was making a lot of faces such as pouting, sticking his tongue out by himself when Hikari ran towards him shocking him. She seemed to be disappointed after seeing his face. Hikari sat beside him quietly.
"I feel that she is lonely. All I can do was to sit beside her and say nothing. We were in the same class since the 3rd Grade. She finally talked to me one day when I made a fool of myself challenging a group of seniors to a soccer match and losing. It took me time but eventually I got her to smile." Daisuke filled Takeru in. He wanted to know more about Hikari.
"I'm grateful that you told me these but I'm sorry that I can't tell you anything. It's her story to tell when she's ready." Takeru said quietly.
"I see. But surely, you can tell me about that Agumon." Daisuke asked in a serious tone. Takeru did not know what to say. He promised his brother. If he said something wrong, none of them would dare to step into Digital World and Digital World would be in trouble.
"Let's talk tomorrow. I'm tired." Patamon said yawning on his head. Takeru was grateful to his quick-witted partner.
"I'm sure he is a Partner Digimon. When things come to this, surely his partner will show up tomorrow." Daisuke said confidently as he ran off in the other direction to his apartment. Takeru and Patamon looked at one another and shook their head.
Daisuke decided to head to the Digital World alone to rescue Agumon from Kaiser's clutches.
"It was not my imagination. Agumon was crying."
Chibimon was watching Daisuke preparing for the trip at the corner. This would not do. They could not do this alone.
As it was a weekend, he had to sneak to the computer lab but someone came before him. He could hear voices. He crept up to peek from the slit of the door. He saw Yamato and Koushirou discussing about their plans.
"We have to save Agumon by ourselves even if it cost our lives." Koushirou muttered coldly.
"Don't be silly. He'll not want you to do that. We'll fight as usual. Destroy the Dark Tower and free Agumon." Yamato rebuked.
"Eh? They are really not on speaking terms?" He wondered but he did not realized that he would get caught easily as Yamato opened the door for him. Daisuke faked his laugh.
"Seems that I can't keep anything from you." He scratched his head.
"Not me, but Takeru. He told me what happened. He is worried about you." Yamato sat on the table watching him. Chibimon heaved a sigh of relief. They could not fight without the rest.
"Besides, don't you know that Digivices could detect signals from other Digivices including yours?" Yamato reminded Daisuke. Daisuke actually forgotten about this function. He only had Digimental in his mind when came to signal.
"Yeah, I actually thought my Digimental could be in the Real World when it reacted back in Tamachi. I guessed I mistaken Iori's D3 for it. He must have forgotten to shut it off." Daisuke kicked himself in his leg. On a serious note, he wanted to try and ask the seniors about Agumon's partner but was interrupted.
"Sorry to make you wait." Takeru and Hikari had arrived with Iori and their Digimon.
"Where is Miyako-san?" Koushirou asked.
"Still not here." Poromon replied. Miyako requested Poromon to come over with Iori.
"What is she doing?" Koushirou stood up feeling peeved shocking everyone. They never saw Koushirou this angry before.
"Then hurry up and look for her." Yamato ordered while staring at the angry Koushirou.
"I'm here." Miyako strolled in. "Sorry, I'm late."
"Miyako, do the usual cheer." Daisuke invited but frown when he noticed that she was depressed.
"What's wrong? Are you sick?" He asked in concern.
"If you don't tell us, we won't know right?" Chibimon said.
"She's not up for it." Koushirou concluded. "Then it's better for you not to come with us."
"Koushirou!" Yamato hissed.
"Don't get me wrong. I'm not angry at her. I just don't want to put all of you in danger. Worse come to worst, only Yamato-SENPAI, Takeru-kun, Hikari-san and I will go." Koushirou explained. Yamato could hear that he purposely added a senpai behind his name sarcastically.
"It's fine. We are not forcing you to come, Miyako-san." Takeru said.
"That's right. We go because we want to go." Iori added remembering what Jou had told him before.
"Izumi-senpai, I…" Miyako trailed off.
"Let's do that. I'll stay back with you." Koushirou offered. He did not want to go with Yamato. More importantly he did not feel up to it and he needed to be an example to their juniors.
"It's fine. It's better for you not to go since you are feeling down." Tailmon advised.
"That's right! You will only be a burden if you go." Poromon added.
"So we'll count on Hikari-chan on the usual cheer." Takeru suggested. She looked better than the day before when he picked her up this morning. Takeru felt that it was better to cheer her on and pretended nothing had happened.
The group arrived at where Skullgreymon was rampaging the day before.
"He's still as destructive as ever." Tentomon said.
"Digimon Kaiser sure toyed with us." Yamato commented.
"Iori, what's wrong with you, dagyaa? Armadimon asked while dodging his hits from his Kendo stick.
"It's unforgivable and it's shameful that he's also human." Iori shouted.
"Iori-kun…" Takeru called out.
"I'm sorry. I got carried away." Iori realized he was disgracing himself.
The group decided to collect information from the nearby town since there was nothing they could do there.
Digimon Kaiser continued experimenting with Greymon by forcing him to Dark Evolve again and again but he failed to get the correct form of it. Meanwhile, he was adjusting the programme of Evil Ring to strengthen it in order to control Perfect Level Digimon.
"Where's the problem?" He wondered. SkullGreymon was rampaging in his cell. He created the hole and tried to escape.
In SkullGreymon's mind, Agumon found himself trapped in his mind and was unable to free himself. Fear overwhelmed him.
"Taichi…" Agumon cried. He knew he needed to be stronger than that. He could not protect Taichi because he was not strong enough.
He could only watch helplessly as his partner died on Yamato's arms and his data faded away.
"Taichi, I'm sorry I let you down again and again." SkullGreymon was electrocuted by the barrier of the cell and reverted to Greymon.
At the same time, Ken thought he found something when his Evil Ring dissipated in his screen.
Miyako was washing her face in the toilet. She felt conflicted. Their mission in the Digital World was getting serious but she could not stop thinking of their trip as a picnic. She needed to wake up her idea.
She made her way to the computer lab where Koushirou was communicating with Tentomon.
"It's almost certain that it's there. Can you inform Yamato-han and the rest?"
"Of course." Koushirou replied sarcastically. Tentomon sighed. Maybe he should not mention Yamato's name. Nevertheless, they still have to work together to rescue Agumon.
"I'll continue investigating and contact you later."
"Have they found Agumon?" Miyako asked as soon as Tentomon was finished.
"If Tentomon's information is correct." Koushirou said staring at the monitor. Miyako shove him aside.
"Where is it? I'll inform the rest."
"A place called Locomo Town."
"Yes." Miyako decided that she would do her part. After all, she was a Chosen Children tasked to save the Digital World.
Digimon Kaiser continued to experiment on Agumon. SkullGreymon was crashing and banging the wall trying to force his way out. The debris he shot down ended up crashing on him reverting him back to Agumon.
"Taichi…" Agumon called out in daze as he fell unconscious as he was spent.
"I see. The Evil Ring can control the Adult Level easily but it can't process all the data needed to control a Perfect Level." Ken was excited about his finding. Now he could improve on its function by changing its shape.
"The word "impossible" doesn't exist for me." He snickered to himself. He would make Agumon his partner, his slave. Wormmon felt a surge of jealousy. He decided that he would get Ken-chan to focus on him.
Wormmon approached Agumon and broke the Evil Ring. Wormmon took off before Agumon woke up.
"I'm free, why?" Agumon wondered. "I have to get out of here."
"No good… processing power had improved but it's still not enough." Kaiser continued working and an idea hit him.
"This is it. I should have done that from the beginning." He keyed in the new programme code in excitement. "Why didn't I think of this earlier?" A spiral-like item appeared in the screen. "This way processing and transmitting power will increase so a Dark Tower is not needed. Let's try this out."
The screen switched to the cell Agumon was locked in. Kaiser was shocked. Agumon had escaped but how?
The group had arrived to Locomo Town Miyako had informed them. As the name implied, it was a town with many and huge railway.
"Where should we start looking?" Daisuke asked folding his arms looking around.
"I think it's better for us to split out and search." Tailmon suggested. Yamato agreed.
A sound of a train horn is heard and Daisuke looked towards the tunnel where it came from. A train came out of the tunnel and Yamato spotted Agumon on it. He was using the train to escape.
"Agumon!" Agumon turned and was relieved to see his friends.
"Yamato!" He called out. Tailmon stopped the train to allow Agumon to alight safely.
"Yamato!" Agumon ran to him. Daisuke heaved a sigh of relief when Agumon jumped into Yamato's arms. Agumon did not expect the rest to come for him. He never intended to rely on them. He was unworthy and he was weak. That was why he was captured. He deserved it.
Even so, he was glad to see them. He needed them. Droplets of tears fell on Yamato's shoulder. For the past day, he was forced to relieve the nightmare about how he failed to protect his partner and seeing his death over and over again feeling helpless about it. Agumon flinched in pain when Yamato tightened his grip around him.
"Are you alright?" Yamato asked in concern.
"Don't worry, I'll be better soon." Despite putting on a strong front, Yamato knew Agumon was broken and was likely to reproach himself over it. Other than Hikari, Agumon was the most affected about his lost friend's death. He would never get over it. None of them would.
"It's alright now." Yamato turned to the rest. "Let's go before Digimon Kaiser comes again." The rest nodded except Daisuke.
"Wait! We came this far and now we're just going to run away?" He demanded. "Shouldn't we get even for what Kaiser did to Agumon? Even I can't take this lying down. I'm sure whoever his Partner is will agree with me." Daisuke blurted out without thinking. Yamato's eyes narrowed at his words.
"We will not going to let this go after what he did to Agumon but right now, we need to get Agumon to safety." Yamato looked down at the wounded Agumon. Of course he knew if it was Taichi, he would not take this lying down but he felt that Taichi would agree with him this time.
Daisuke looked at the wounded Agumon and relented.
"If you say so, Yamato-san." He said dejectedly. He sympathsised with Agumon and was annoyed by the fact that his partner could not be bothered to show up at all.
"How did he escape? Ken wondered. There was no way Agumon would be able to escape under the control of the Evil Ring. How did he even remove the Evil Ring?
"Ken-chan? Hey, Ken-chan" Wormmon came over to him.
"What?" Ken yelled at him for disrupting his line of thought.
"Forget about him. Use me for your experiments on evolution!" Wormmon appealed. "I'll evolve, evolve and fight for you, Ken-chan!"
Ken realized that Wormmon was the culprit which helped Agumon to escape. He snarled at him.
"It's because I'm your partner." Wormmon explained. "I can evolve. If you are going to conduct your experiment, do it on me!" Ken scoffed.
"What kind of splendid Digimon would you evolve to? And to think you are my partner? No chance. How could the Digimon Kaiser have a partner like you?" Wormmon was frozen in shock. It could not be. He had evolved and fought for him before, how could he forget?
"Ken-chan!" Wormmon cried. Ken gave him a kick.
"From now on, calling me "Ken-chan" is unacceptable. My name is Digimon Kaiser."
"I'm sorry, Ken… I mean Digimon Kaiser-sama. So please… "
"You are annoying." Kaiser took out a whip. He was going to whip Wormmon into a pulp when he noticed in one of the monitor which revealed Agumon's location.
"You got lucky." He walked off in a huff.
"Ken-chan…" Wormmon cried and was startled by the whip which almost hit him.
His friends came to rescue him. He would not let that happen.